DUBAI: The dispute with Qatar is not a diplomatic row, but instead a stand against terrorism, the Egyptian billionaire and chairman of the telecoms company Weather Investments, Naguib Sawiris has said in a television interview.
Speaking to the cable news channel CNBC, Sawiris, was asked about the situation in the region where the Anti-Terror Quartet (ATQ) severed diplomatic relations in June with Qatar amid claims that it supported terror.
The outspoken businessman said the situation was not a row, because the country was “hosting advocates of terror.”
“It’s not a diplomatic row. It’s a position against terrorism. I mean people have not spent enough time figuring out who is really financing all what is happening,” he said.
“When a country is hosting all the advocates of terror, whether they are the leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood, or Hamas, or other terror organizations.”
“When they host clergymen, that are illiterate, but tell young people ‘listen, go and blow up this place, kill innocent people, it’s okay and you’ll end up in heaven,’ Then there is no more to talk about. It is not a diplomatic row. It’s just a stand against terrorism saying enough is enough.”
The ATQ was created in June by the four Arab nations, which immediately severed ties with Qatar, accusing it of supporting extremist groups and of being too close to Iran, which has been accused by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) of fomenting strife in various parts of the region.
The four nations that make up the ATQ are Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt.
The ATQ also shut down air, maritime and land links and imposed economic sanctions on Qatar.
A defiant Qatar rejected the quartet’s demands, even though these were reduced from an initial 13 to six. Doha also restored diplomatic ties with Tehran, further widening the rift.
On Tuesday ATQ diplomats slammed Doha for its latest “provocations” after Qatar’s state minister for foreign affairs praised Iran and blamed the bloc for a humanitarian crisis caused by their blockade of Qatar.
During a meeting of ministers at the Arab League, Sultan Saad Al-Muraikhi, Qatar’s permanent envoy to the Arab League, also challenged the quartet to present evidence that his country was supporting extremist groups and terrorists.